When the women in my life tell me to be strong, they mean that I should be silent.

That I should forgive your list of never ending wrongs, and forget, so you can fool me again. What you did or how it’s left me is irrelevant. Your mistakes are my burden to bear.

They tell me not to cause so much drama, because that’s all asking questions does. There’s no room for voicing opinions or holding people accountable or demanding respect. That’s not what sweet, quiet, forgiving women do.

They tell me the burden of adhering to the values of my culture, no matter how much it devalues me, is mine. It is my job to treasure your flaws, to ride the ebbs and flows of your mood, wherever they might take us.

They tell me this is strength. 
And they prove it, flashing the pieces of their broken hearts with pride.

I don’t know where it comes from, why it’s so easy to toss aside these values that should be too deeply engrained to question. I see the stupidity of it so clearly. 

But I can tell that you don’t, so I tell you …

Strength is not how much you put up with, how complacent you choose to be.

You are not strong because you let people walk all over you. 
You are not strong because you’ve turned so many cheeks you lost count.
You are not strong because you hold your tongue.

I tell you.

I tell you that complacency is not strength. Silence is not strength. Blind forgiveness is not strength.

I tell you.
Over and over, I tell you.

You nod, and you hear me with glazed eyes. And I know you don’t feel me. 

So we sit and I hold you. 
You and your broken pieces.
I just want you to be whole again.